G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

Will Self: “To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Friday, July 31, 2009

Never Found in Translation that is Lost in the Neglect of One's Own Heritage

Government of Maharashtra plans to erect 300-feet high statue of Shivaji Maharaj in the Arabian Sea, facing the Marine Drive, in south Mumbai.

Never mind neglect of existing world-class monuments in Mumbai itself: cave temples of Jogeshwari and Mandapeshwar, not to mention sorry state of countless forts and other historical places in Maharashtra.

Read more on this in the essay published by Frontline July 31, 2009 here.

I came across this beautiful line from Thana Gazette (written by a Brit?) in the said essay: “Kanheri is the only rock-cut monastery in western India that has the feeling of having been, and of being ready again to be, a pleasant and popular dwelling place."

...Sir, you may check in because your room is ready...For last hundreds of years!

If we inherit a place like this, shouldn't we be leaving one behind? Isn't that in our contract with our grandchildren?

Remember, the Jogeshwari caves, the Brahminical caves belonging to A.D. 520-550, are the first rock-cut cave temples built by Hindus in the country.

But we are happy chanting: Garv se kaho hum Hindu hai!!! (Say with pride we are Hindus)

When people don't preserve their own glorious heritage, how can we expect them to import great books from other cultures?

Recently on Guardian's website, I found "The top 100 books of all time"
I have not read majority of them but I wondered how many of them have been translated in Marathi.

For someone like me, translation was important because most books from the list, I read first time, were in Marathi. For example, I have read a number of Stefan Zweig's books in Marathi because my father Gopal Dutt Kulkarni गोपाळ दत्त कुलकर्णी had translated them from English.

Translation of great books in a language enriches it. In Marathi, Sane-guruji साने-गुरुजी, who himself translated many books from foreign and other Indian languages, sought such enrichment.

Read a related post that appeared on this blog earlier.

As per my knowledge only following books from the top 100 have been translated in Marathi.

I will be happy to correct this list. ('?????' denotes it probably exists.)

1> Hans Christian Andersen, Denmark, (1805-1875), Fairy Tales and Stories (I have read in Marathi first)

2> Jane Austen, England, (1775-1817), Pride and Prejudice ?????

3> Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Spain, (1547-1616), Don Quixote, (I have read in Marathi first)

4> Anton P Chekhov, Russia, (1860-1904), Selected Stories

5> Charles Dickens, England, (1812-1870), Great Expectations ?????

6> Ernest Hemingway, United States, (1899-1961), The Old Man and the Sea

7> Henrik Ibsen, Norway (1828-1906), A Doll's House

8> Kalidasa, India, (c. 400), The Recognition of Sakuntala, (Read in Marathi)

9> Mahabharata, India, (c 500 BC), (Read in Marathi)

10> Edgar Allan Poe, United States, (1809-1849), The Complete Tales ?????

11-13> William Shakespeare, England, (1564-1616), Hamlet; King Lear; Othello

14> Jonathan Swift, Ireland, (1667-1745), Gulliver's Travels, (Read in Marathi)

15> Thousand and One Nights, India/Iran/Iraq/Egypt, (700-1500) (Read abridged version in Marathi)

16> Valmiki, India, (c 300 BC), Ramayana, (Read in Marathi)

Just 16 out of 100? Not even passing marks!

And for criminal neglect of our heritage as depicted in the picture below? Negative marks!


Seepage and water stagnation at the Jogeshwari caves

(picture courtesy: Frontline, July 31 2009)